Willagee daughter steps up for mum


Marissa Coccetti with mum Michelle McKenna.
Picture: Will Russell        www.communitypix.com.au   d450966
Marissa Coccetti with mum Michelle McKenna. Picture: Will Russell        www.communitypix.com.au d450966

Mrs Coccetti has pledged to run at least 70km this month to raise both awareness and funding for research into cancer.

Her otherwise completely healthy mother Michelle McKenna was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in November 2014.

“There’s no history of breast cancer in our family and I had none of the common symptoms that you hear about; there were no lumps, no bumps, no dimples, absolutely nothing,” Mrs Mckenna said.

“I just woke up one morning and my breast was hard, so I went to see the doctor.

“She sent me off for a mammogram ultrasound and that was sent to a surgeon.

“His instinct was that it was worse than just stage one or two breast cancer, so he sent me off for a whole battery of tests and it came back as stage four.”

Stage one and two breast cancer have a five-year survival rate of better than 93 per cent but that drops to just 22 per cent for stage four.

Mrs Mckenna said her doctor believes she had cancer for up to two years before any major symptoms presented themselves.

“I had a bit of a back ache but I just put that down to living a very active life and playing roller derby,” she said.

“I think it’s important that people know you can’t always just have a mastectomy and go through chemotherapy and then come out fine.”

Mrs Coccetti logged 15km in the first week of March but is aiming to complete between 70 and 100km by the end of the month.

Her mother recently underwent a mastectomy and is preparing to begin a new round of therapy with a trial drug.

“I had a new growth come up that they needed to deal with, which is why they’ve now done the mastectomy,” Mrs Mckenna said.

“Now I’m waiting on a trial drug that my oncologist is fighting hard to get me because they’ve seen some really good results with it.

“The doctors try to keep stage four patients off chemo as long as possible because it’s really the last thing that will work.”